With training camp now officially underway, the NBA offseason can be considered complete. Many teams worked diligently this summer to retool, adding depth to their rosters to further cement a successful run into the playoffs this coming season.
The Knicks were certainly among those teams, adding notable veterans like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, and even Raymond Felton to their already existent impressive core.
But as New York looks ahead with hopes to make some noise, who do some of the team’s returning players consider the biggest pickup of all?
Many players, including Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and even Felton, have already given credit where it’s due to Kidd. The Hall of Fame bound floor general has quickly embraced a leadership role on this Knicks squad, making quite the impression on his new teammates thus far. It’s impossible to recognize the value he brings as an experienced veteran and NBA champion. Kidd is truly one of the best point guards to ever hit the hardwood, and Felton looks forward to being mentored by his one-time idol.
The returning Knickerbocker called Kidd’s influence almost immediate, saying the veteran has even acted more like “a father-figure” as he continues as he leads the group through the early goings of informal workouts and now, training camp.
While the benefits to bringing a player of Kidd’s caliber are undeniable, it was Carmelo Anthony who boldly stated who else he believed represented one of the Knicks’ better acquisitions of the summer.
While praising the team’s significant improvements, Anthony added, “I love the additions, but somebody who I think is a really underrated pickup is Ronnie Brewer.”
“He’s really going to be able to help this team out a lot,” the star said. “[Ronnie] will definitely help us out on the defensive end, especially when we’re trying to get stops. I’m very excited.”
Anthony’s teammates certainly seem to share the same sentiment. Believing the team will be welcoming Brewer with open arms, Iman Shumpert beamed about his new teammate, saying “Ronnie’s the kind of guy you don’t like if he’s not on your team, which is exactly like me. He’s a go-getter, and I think he’ll fit right in.”
Towards the end of last season, Shumpert appeared to have stolen a spot in the starting lineup from Landry Fields. “Rook,” as Coach Mike Woodson calls him, balances out the first unit well with his defensive prowess and athleticism.
But a horrific knee injury against the Heat in last season’s postseason is likely to keep Shumpert out until approximately January. Until then, it will be Brewer who steps in to fill that void of a defensive two-guard.
The former Bulls and Jazz guard has enough experience and knows what it takes to defend some of the league’s better offensive players. Should Brewer himself be at full health on opening night as expected, the Knicks won’t miss a beat while waiting on Shumpert to return. His addition even allows the sophomore guard to take a slow and steady approach towards his rehabilitation. The Knicks don’t want to rush the process, and Brewer helps take nearly all the pressure off to do so.
This summer, the Knicks added some of the more notable veteran players in all of the NBA. But as players like Anthony and Shumpert acknowledge, it will be the late acquisition of Brewer that will help pace things defensively for this already balanced roster.